Peter Newell and Edward Lear

Equally individual [as Stockton’s article on A.B. Frost mentioned in the previous review] is Mr. Peter Newell, who has just published a collection of his quaintly illustrated nonsense verses, under the title of Peter Newell’s Pictures and Rhymes. The world has for a long time yearned for an acceptable successor to Edward Lear, whose “Book of Nonsense” has been for many years a household treasure, and Mr. Newell appears to be the worthiest of all the condidates. There is a whimsical touch in all that he does, whether it be in picture or in text, that appeals to the sould of man, and it is his good fortune to be wholly original. There is never any mistaking Mr. Newell’s work for that of any other picture-maker past or present, and in his rhyming he seems to have hit upon a form and a manner which are as distinctively his own as were the rhymes of Lear characteristic of the older man. Mr. Newell is fortunate in having a double gift. We know of no other illustrator who could enter so thoroughly into the spirit of his rhymes, and he is to be congratulated upon his complete accord with himself, which was never more conspicuously shown than in this volume.

John Kendrick Bangs, from “Literary Notes,” in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, May 1900.

Such a favourable review is not surprising, since in the same volume (December 1899 – May 1900) of Harper’s New Monthly appear the “pictures and rhymes” below as well as Newell’s illustrations to Stephen Crane’s Whilomville Stories. Still less considering that John Kendrick Bangs also wrote the introductory note to the book: the insistence on Newell’s indebtedness to Edward Lear is a bit strange as in the introduction to the book Bangs had written: “He [Newell] had not read or even seen the famous Nonsense book of Edward Lear when I asked him the impertinent questions necessary for the production of this paper in June last.”

1900-01-p329

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, January 1900.

1900-03-p649

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, March 1900.

1900-04-p807

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April 1900.

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